Saturday, June 6, 2009

NAPAWF Applauds Introduction of the Reuniting Families Act; Act Now to Show Your Support

NAPAWF Applauds Introduction of the Reuniting Families Act

Today, Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA), along with Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA) and Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), reintroduced the Reuniting Families Act. This important piece of legislation contains practical solutions for allocating visas more efficiently, alleviating lengthy wait times that keep families separated for years, and decreasing measures that prevent close family members from obtaining visas. The bill also has provisions for eliminating discrimination in immigration law against same-sex permanent partners and their families who are seeking to reunite.

There are currently 5.8 million people in the family immigration backlog, and nearly half originate from Asian countries. Family members in China, India, and the Philippines face some of the longest waiting periods-sometimes waiting up to 22 years before reuniting with their loved ones. API women and girls apply for family-based visas more than any type of visa. In 2004, 69% of all female immigrants received their permanent residency through the family-based immigration system. Women were 38% more likely to obtain legal permanent resident status through a family-based visa than men.

The Reuniting Families Act contains provisions that will alleviate wait times and decrease obstacles to immigrant family members seeking to obtain a visa by:

· Recapturing family and work visas that have gone unused and unclaimed due to bureaucratic delay;

· Classifying lawful permanent resident spouses and children as "immediate relatives" and exempting them from numerical caps on family immigration;

· Increasing per country limits from 7% to 10% of total admissions to remedy long backlogs;

· Allowing orphans, widows, and widowers to immigrate despite the death of a sponsoring relative;

· Recognizing the sacrifices of Filipino service members by exempting children of World War II Filipino veterans from numerical caps;

· Treating stepchildren and biological children equally under immigration law; and

· Allowing same-sex permanent partners to sponsor their foreign partner for a permanent visa.

NAPAWF praises Congressman Honda for recognizing the importance of family unity. Families that rely on the legal immigration application process should not be punished by excessive wait times or administrative inefficiencies before being reunited. In addition, NAPAWF believes that all families deserve equal treatment, and we commend Congressman Honda for addressing the injustice same-sex transnational families face under current immigration laws. Discrimination against one type of family hurts our entire community.

ACT NOW to Urge Your Member of Congress to Support the Reuniting Families Act!

A system that keeps family members apart hurts everyone. We need your help to remind our elected officials that it is time to reunite family members in a timely and humane manner. Legislation that supports family unity is a critical building block to comprehensive immigration reform that will help repair our badly broken system.

We must ACT NOW to make sure that the Reuniting Families Act gets as much support as possible from Members of Congress! They need to understand family immigration is a key part of immigration reform!

There are three QUICK ACTIONS you can DO TODAY to support family unity:

· Call NOW to urge your Representative to cosponsor the Reuniting Families Act! Contact the Capital Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be directly connected to your Representative. (If you don't know who your representative is you can find out here)

Call your representative:

"Please co-sponsor the Reuniting Families Act and help reform our outdated family immigration system that is keeping 5.8 million family members separated from their loved ones. Currently, the wait for a family immigration visa can span decades, which is a lifetime for the spouse, child, or parent of a hardworking immigrant. As an Asian American/Pacific Islander, I am especially concerned that family members from Asia and immigrant women are disproportionally hurt by inefficiencies in the system. It's time to update the family immigration system to reflect the needs of our society today."

· To endorse this legislation as an organization, contact Parag Mehta at

· Forward this message to 10 friends immediately and urge them to participate.

Together we can repair the broken immigration system and help families be together! Thank you for your support.

Click here for more information about the Reuniting Families Act or contact Priscilla at

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